Silence engulfs you, giving a sense of serenity in Mother Nature’s breath. Life here seems to be running at the pace of light; you’re constantly checking over your shoulder for that beast who lurks in the cool of the shadows. Dried ferns below your boots change the tempo of reality in an instant. Suddenly you’re wandering without purpose, photosynthesizing life brushing over your tattered Swanndri, leaving droplets of the dawns dew scattering your sleeve. You lay eyes on an area of cleared ground ahead, hazy spring air drifting off a nearby stream clings to the damp ground.
Pressure and gyration felt in the back of your skull wakes you from the semi-comatose state you’ve become accustomed to over the past couple of hours. Moisture has seeped into the tail of your shirt; in time finding its way up to your collar, leaving damp cotton stuck to bruised flesh beneath your swanny . After righting, and gathering breath, the pain hits you. Intense and persistent, refusing to subside. Aches pulse through you, bringing a harsh, sticky fluid from the depths of a bloodied stomach.
Clear water flows over you; Poseidon’s touch cleansing and healing. Examining your chest and upper abdomen with more detail it becomes clear the damage inflicted by the beast who lurks. Wide lacerations, stained a dark sangria tell a tale of something much more malicious than you could’ve thought. This entity damages its prey with more than physicality. It feeds on despair and desolation, partaking a vicious circle; this thing ensures its own prosperity.
Slipping back into a modest set of bushclothes leaves a feeling of reassurance and warmth, nostalgic of a dead loved-one’s embrace. Doom’s cool fingers grip your oesophagus and squeeze at resurfaced memories of a long lost family. The sky claps and flashes through dark clouds that you can’t remember existing 10 seconds ago, vibrant bush has decayed, leaving a green smog in the place of sweet autumn air. Deafening screams pierce your eardrums, stealing the serenity native to the bush.
Swollen eyes open, unable to piece together a clear image; like viewing life through pales of glue. Tattered shorts are the only clothing left on you, leaving visibly self-inflicted scars visible to all. Glass has splashed from a freshly shattered photo frame; a fathers beaming smile protrudes from a familiar bush setting, he’s slumped against a large, recently deceased buck. Dry eyes flicker across the photo to see a younger version of one’s self: visibly elated, sun kissed to a warm shade of chestnut. Sea-bleached locks of hair trail past the shoulders. Hatred boils from the bottom of your heart. The worst memories are good memories tainted by events yet to come. Following a reflection of artificial light leads you to the bathroom. Blood stains the shower curtain, resurfacing vile images of hot tarmac coated with coagulated blood. Stale recollections of the drunk driver that stole parents and siblings regurgitate.
Shivers jolt through your head, almost like the shock of a brainfreeze from a frozen treat. The barrel of this .45 isn’t much for the sweetness receptors in your mouth, although this situation is a bit of a treat; you only every get to do it once. Stiff bones cooperate to cycle the chamber of the handgun.
A wasted life ends.
The beast ceases to exist.